SAN JOSE, California — Network slicing may provide a new way for big enterprises to roam across different operator networks and keep their quality of service. Called federated network slicing, this is just one service that BT is contemplating as it conducts various network slicing tests in preparation for 5G.
Speaking at the 2017 NFV World Congress organized by Layer123, Mansoor Hanif, director of converged networks research lab at BT, said the company is looking at whether it could use federated network slicing for roaming and whether this is something that could have a viable business model. “When we look at 5G, we see huge demands on latency and SLAs [service level agreements], said Hanif. “Can we come up with a roaming model?”
This isn’t the first time federated network slicing has been mentioned for roaming. In February, Ericsson said its new pre-5G platform would make it possible to offer federated network slicing so operators could offer intercontinental 5G services. In fact, Deutsche Telekom and SK Telecom said they were testing the possibility of making network slices available on each other’s networks specifically for enterprises that wanted to maintain all network services across different operator footprints.
Pre-5G Network Slicing
The two firms are looking at how specific policies can be applied to traffic being carried over a network slice, particularly when some of those services are mission critical.
Hanif said that so far the companies have found it is possible to optimize resources to fit different types of use cases, even conflicting use cases. For example, the network can isolate slices for Internet of Things (IoT), ultra-high bandwidth, and ultra low latency, and manage those slices at the same time without disruption.
He added that the next step for the two companies is to look at network slicing in the core and the transport layer. By year-end, BT believes it can have mobile end-to-end network slicing that will include the core network, the transport network, and the radio access network (RAN).